How deep does this lavender go and can I transplant it?
May 31, 2020 11:10 AM   Subscribe

I live in a rental property. About two or three years ago, I planted some lavender in front of the porch. I'm thinking about trying to take it with me when I move out.

It's currently about a foot and a half tall, although individual stalks are longer.

Normally, I would just leave it - however, the landlord hires the worst people to do lawn care. These people weed whacked the other lavender plants, cut down the rose bush and the grape vine, and just generally can't be trusted to leave any plant alone. One year they weed whacked my labeled tomato plants!

I'd be sad if this little lavender just got chopped down once I'm gone so I'm considering digging it up and transplanting it to my new house. But I have no idea if that's a reasonable thing to try. If trying to do that would likely kill it, I'll leave it. If it requires a backhoe, I'll leave it.

What do you think? Can you transplant a lavender?
posted by Kutsuwamushi to Home & Garden (11 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I would dig it up and bring it with me for sure, but I'd also try to propagate some cuttings as well, in case it doesn't take well to transplanting.

A quick google found a bunch of guides on doing exactly this with lavendar. The general advice seemed to be to do it in spring, and for a plant that size, to plan on a 12" root ball.
posted by showbiz_liz at 11:18 AM on May 31 [1 favorite]

Yup! Dig it up! Lavender is pretty sturdy, so if you get a 12” root ball you should be fine; during transport try to keep it moist (if you can get a burlap sack and soak it in water that’d work great), and try to replant it asap. If you replant it and it starts to fade, don’t give up! If they’re not totally wrecked they can often bounce back after looking sickly and sad for a year (several pants came to their forever home when we bought our house from our rental, and they looked rough because we moved mid summer. By the next year several of them bounced back and kicked some ass.

Lavender does well in pots too! If you’re renting and want to always being it with you without doing excavation work, this may be an option.
posted by furnace.heart at 11:39 AM on May 31

If I put it in a pot, about what size do you think I'd need? Assuming that the root ball is about that size, would it have to be a pretty big pot?
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 12:12 PM on May 31

We cut our lavender back during the dormant season (~February) and it always comes back in the spring. This is a normal way of maintaining lavender. Keep an eye out if it makes “babies” (little shoots popping up a foot or two away) and put these babies in nursery pots to take with you. It will be fully established by the third year after transplanting. If you transplant a mature plant to a new location, it might struggle the first year, but should be ok the following year.
posted by matildaben at 12:18 PM on May 31

Pretty much anything can be transplanted if it’s babied enough after. If you prune the roots to move it (which include breaking many while digging it up) just prune the top to compensate. It should bounce back with some TLC and plenty of water.
posted by lydhre at 12:41 PM on May 31

I've transplanted lavender with no problems. My plants seed themselves and I've given away the seedlings and moved them around the yard with no special care. I've also moved large plants several times with no problems. I have a policy that my plants have got to survive with basic care or I'm replacing them with something easier. I'd just throw it in a pot to move and then get it back in the ground as soon as you can. Make sure it's back in a nice sunny, well drained spot and you should be fine.
posted by Cuke at 2:16 PM on May 31

Just a personal testimonial on the resilience of lavender:

Our previous apartment had a front garden on a well-travelled street. There was a whole bunch of pre-existing lavender growing up against the fence that bordered the sidewalk. It was peed on extensively by dogs (something I witnessed fairly often), and exposed to lots of road salt from the sidewalk and busy street in the winter. We lived there for six years, and it returned lush and healthy every year despite all that.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 2:28 PM on May 31

Terra-cotta pot is my recommendation- Lavender doesn’t like too much water- in the ground isn’t bad but in a pot it’ll need some help draining. But it should do fine in a pot.
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 6:21 PM on May 31 [2 favorites]

Sad news.

As I was getting ready to go out and buy a pot, the lavender was weed whacked. Right in front of my eyes. I ran outside to stop them but was seconds too late.

I will plant my future lavender in containers to start with.
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 8:19 PM on June 6

How close a whack? If you dig up the root ball and baby it- it might yet re-sprout!
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 9:54 PM on June 6

Pretty much level with the ground. The other lavenders that they whacked this way never came back, so I'm just going to let it be ...
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 3:14 PM on June 12

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